01 Feb The 3 things Google’s Larry Page and Epic’s Judy Faulkner have in common
In their respective industries, Larry Page and Judy Faulkner could be considered celebrities. They sit in the chief executive position of arguably the most successful search engine and health IT companies, respectively. But beyond that, their public personas — or lack thereof — and approach to leadership are quite similar, and may offer insight at what it takes to be a successful leader.
1. Business comes first.
Conor Dougherty, the Google beat report for The New York Times wrote a piece on his attempts to interview and further understand Mr. Page, co-founder and CEO of Google. He writes he has been trying to get an interview with Mr. Page since roughly August 2014, when he started covering the beat. “I’ve been waiting ever since,” he writes.
Similarly, Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic Systems, is rare to grant a media interview. Although she has been more active in the press this past year than ever before — she spoke with Becker’s Hospital Review twice since February 2015 — Epic historically didn’t pay much mind to any marketing or public outreach.
In one of those interviews, Becker’s asked Ms. Faulkner about the secret behind Epic’s marketing-free success, and she said there is no strategy behind it. “When I started the company, I had no idea how to do marketing, so we just didn’t do it,” she said. “What I did know, because I was a technical person, is to be able to write good software. So we focused on writing good software, and we focused on doing good support. And then fortunately, word of mouth did the rest.”
Mr. Page reportedly doesn’t often grant media interviews, but he does speak to the public at large, typically at staged events such as TED talks, according to Mr. Dougherty.
The same can be said for Ms. Faulkner, who every year dons a character costume to speak at Epic’s Annual User Meeting. In 2015, she was dressed as Lucille Ball to fit the meeting’s “A Classic Episode” theme. The year before, she wore a flannel shirt, coveralls and work boots to fit the “Down on the Farm” theme, according to The Capital Times.
Keeping distance from the press, especially for such prominent individuals, isn’t an indication of something sinister, as Mr. Dougherty suggests.
“I want to say loud and clear that I don’t think Mr. Page or any other business leader has a responsibility to talk to the press,” Mr. Dougherty continues. “He is a busy man and his media shyness probably should not be confused with reclusion.”
And both Mr. Page and Ms. Faulkner certainly are busy, running successful, billion-dollar companies. Google reported $66 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2014, and Epic’s 2014 revenue was estimated at $1.8 billion.
According to Mr. Dougherty’s NYT report, more than 1 billion individuals use six Google products. That means one in every seven people use one of these products.
In the health IT industry, Epic has a similar presence in hospitals and physicians offices. The vendor reports 355 customers, and in June 2015, it says 15.3 million patient records were exchanged on its Care Everywhere network, including to and from Epic EHRs, non-Epic EHRs, health information exchanges and government agencies. Additionally, it is the third most-used vendor hospitals and health systems use to attest to meaningful use, following MEDITECH and Cerner, according to March 2015 data from ONC.